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Why a boot liner is the perfect accessory for your lease car?

You've got a new lease car, but, you need to protect your boot when transporting your dog, pram, fishing gear, DIY tools, bikes etc. Here is where Hatchbag steps in with our array of boot liners in seven colours. Plus our boot liner extras such as, bumper flap, rear seat flap, tailgate cover and a choice of three mats; rubber mat, hatchbed mat and odour mat.

Blue bootliner in car

All of our boot covers act as a second skin to your car boot and will prevent your lease car boot’s interior getting covered in dog hair, scratched or damaged. And you may be thinking this all sounds great, but, if I use self-adhesive tabs to attach the boot liner to the car then will this damage the interior?

The answer is no. If your car boot is made from carpet and is self-adhesive tab friendly then you will not have to attach any self-adhesive tabs to your car. You may want to consider our frequent use fitting kit, which consists of thirty-two double-sided adhesive tabs. These tabs act as a sandwich between the liner and the boot carpet, so that when you remove the liner the carpet does not fluff up.

Cleaning your lease car boot

If your car boot is made from plastic, you will need to attach self-adhesive tabs to the boot. Before you do that, we recommend the following cleaning procedure:

  • - Take two lint free cloths and Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover.
  • - Soak one cloth in Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover and clean down the sides.
  • - Take the second cloth and dry the sides to the point the cloth is dragging across the surface.
  • - Test a piece of self-adhesive to see if it adheres to the plastic. If yes, continue attaching the remainder tabs. If not, please repeat the above steps.

When you come to remove the boot liner and self-adhesive tabs from the boot, we recommend the following procedure:

  • - Take Autoglym Intensive Tar remover and a cloth
  • - Soak the cloth in Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover and clean down the plastics to remove any residue
  • - Then take any valeting product and valet the sides of your boot

If you return the car after your lease is up then the car boot will be in the same condition as the day you got the vehicle.

33 top tips for taking the stress out of camping with kids

There's no doubt about it, having children makes you do things differently – holidays being a prime example. Unless you have unlimited funds, foreign jaunts invariably go on hold when there's a young brood to cater for, presenting the question of how to find a cost-effective yet fun holiday to suit all members of the family.

One great family holiday option that ticks all of these boxes is camping. Not only is a brilliant way to escape from reality, it's the perfect way for kids to connect with nature, develop some valuable life skills and ultimately let loose and simply be kids.

The benefits of camping with kids

Far from being Enid Blyton idealism, camping really does put a different spin on spending time together as a family. We are all guilty of wasting too much time on our electrical devices – children included – so getting away from our screens and back to nature is a welcome change for many families, as numerous studies carried out by The Camping and Caravanning Club highlight:

  • 98% of parents said camping makes their kids appreciate and connect with nature.
  • 95% said their kids were happier when camping.
  • 93% felt that it provided useful skills for later life.
  • 4 out of 5 parents believe that camping had a positive effect on their children's school education.
  • Almost three quarters of parents think social media is affecting children's ability to interact and engage with others.
  • 64% of campers believe that taking their children camping improves social skills and mental health.
  • Over 50% of campers felt cooking when camping had a positive effect on their children's learning.

Despite these facts, camping does not appeal to everyone, not least parents of small children. This is no surprise because for first-time campers the idea of sleeping under nylon and cooking over coals can sound pretty daunting. With this in mind, we have compiled a 'camping must-have' guide, complete with 33 useful tips to help camping newbies work out what to buy, pack and prepare for a stress-free family camping trip.

baby in a tent

33 top tips for stress-free family camping

Where to start?

  1. One of the best ways to venture into the camping world is to talk to – or even tag along with – friends with children who have camped before. Learning from other families' camping successes – and failures – is a great way to get a realistic view of what to expect.
  1. Before investing in all of the camping gear it is worth trying to beg, steal and borrow as much equipment as you can to see if you actually like camping. More often than not, seasoned campers will have refined their 'must-haves' and worked out what gear is necessary, which will give you a good idea of what to buy if you decide to commit to tent life.
  1. There are a wide range of campsites available, all offering different amenities and attractions, so think about what you want out of your holiday. Very basic sites are great for 'wild' camping but they may be a little ambitious for first-time family camping. In most family-friendly sites you can expect to find showers, toilets and pot-washing facilities; many also have a small shop in case you have forgotten any essentials. Some sites have playgrounds and arranged activities, while farm sites often allow children to interact with the animals.
a car boot full of equipent
  1. Another benefit of choosing a family-friendly site is that other campers will be sympathetic if your little darling decides to throw a midnight wobble. The camping community is generally a friendly bunch, who will have most likely experienced exactly the same with their own children at some point or another.

Choosing the right equipment

  1. Before going wild in your local outdoor store, consider the size of your car. Although most camping equipment is designed to fold down flat – even a large tent can pack away into a pretty compact holdall – it will still fill a car boot pretty quickly. Investing in a roof box for stowing lighter belongings may free up valuable space inside your car.
  1. When selecting your tent think about how you will use it in regards to your children's ages, sizes and needs. Tents with individual sleeping pods positioned around a living area are especially helpful in bad weather when the whole family has to be inside the tent in the evening, or if toddlers have daytime naps. Families with older kids are also likely to benefit from the additional privacy these extra compartments offer.
  1. Everything is better after a good night's sleep – not least dealing with small children – which is why it is worth investing in good-quality air mattresses and sleeping bags. Unless you are hiking to your campsite, roll mats aren't really advisable and they may take the concept of 'connecting with nature' a step too far for family camping!
  1. Plastic storage boxes are a lifesaver when camping for keeping belongings dry, clean and insect-free. Use separate boxes for food, cooking equipment, toiletries etc. so that everything can be easily accessed then stacked neatly away to maximise space in the tent.
  1. Camping with little ones will undoubtedly be easier if you have an electric hook-up. Not only will it make heating up bottles – or making a well-needed brew – much easier, it is also much less stressful than constantly monitoring boiling pans of water on the stove.
  1. An electric cool box is another reason why you may want to invest in an electric hook-up. It's a great way to ensure that food stays fresh throughout your whole trip, not to mention keeping drinks ice-cold for essential BBQ refreshment. If you prefer a traditional cool box, double up on freezer blocks as many campsites have facilities for refreezing.
  1. Boot liners are invaluable for protecting the interior of your boot from mud, water and damage from lugging bulky equipment in and out. They also transform your car boot into a storage area for muddy boots, wet-weather gear and play equipment – basically everything that you don't want cluttering up your tent.
  1. Tent carpets may sound like a gimmick but they really add to the cosiness and comfort of the tent, especially if children want to play on the floor. Alternatively, as a cheaper option you could use a few plastic-backed picnic blankets to cover the tent floor.
  1. Even in the nicest weather the grass is likely to be wet with dew in the morning so don't rely on picnic blankets as your only seating method. Telescopic canvas chairs and camping tables will certainly make meal times and child entertainment easier.
children by a campfire

Cooking and eating

  1. Preparing food whilst camping doesn't have to be daunting – realistically it is just a simplified version of how you would cook at home. You will only need basic cooking equipment such as a stove, BBQ, kettle, frying pan, saucepan, plastic or tin crockery, cutlery, utensils and a chopping board.
  1. The key to eating well on a camping trip is to keep it simple. Think picnics, BBQs and easy-cook staples like baked beans or pasta. Cooking outdoors on the BBQ or gas stove is one of the best parts of camping, but it is certainly not the speediest way of putting food on the table. With this in mind, make sure you bring plenty of snacks and nibbles to keep everyone going between meals.
  1. Don't forget a washing-up bowl, cloths, tea towels and washing-up liquid. Get the kids involved in outdoor pot-washing, making the most of the fact that camping crockery is practically indestructible! The washing-up bowl can also double up as a splash bowl for toddlers.
dirty feet

Practicalities

  1. An absolute must-have for any camping trip is a first-aid kit. Stock up on plasters, bite and burn cream and antiseptic wipes, as well as kiddy-strength paracetamol and ibuprofen.
  1. Trekking across a field in the middle of the night to take a small child to the loo isn't ideal so don't forget a potty – or a lid with a bucket – plus lots of loo roll to facilitate night-time toilet trips.
  1. Although most campsites have shower facilities, wet wipes are a godsend for keeping little ones – and big ones – clean and fresh.
  1. Insect bites can sometimes be a nuisance when camping so it is well worth stocking up on insect repellent spray and lighting a few citronella candles to keep bugs at bay. Seasoned campers swear by putting a bunch of sage on the campfire as an additional deterrent.
  1. Torches and lanterns are also essential, both for lighting the tent at night and finding your way to the amenities after dark. Low-light night lights or battery-operated fairy lights can be helpful for comforting young children at bedtime as there will invariably be unfamiliar noises during the night.
  1. If you are able to park your car close to your tent it is a good idea to leave the bags containing clothing inside the car and take items out as and when you need them. This will prevent clean clothes from getting unnecessarily damp or muddy.
  1. Modern tents come complete with many useful features, but blocking out early-morning daylight isn't usually one of them. Being forced awake to entertain small children at daybreak can be pretty brutal so investing in sleep masks for the whole family might prove to be a real sanity-saver. Obviously sleep masks aren't advisable for babies and toddlers but you could try positioning a portable blackout shade by their cot to reduce the glare.
splashing in puddles in wellies

Weatherproofing

  1. Always check the weather forecast before you go and be realistic about whether camping in gale-force conditions or 30-degree heat is a good idea! If in doubt, pick a site that isn't too far away – worst-case scenario, you can always pack up early and come home.
  1. Although there is nothing better than glorious sunny weather for a camping trip, it is easy to get sunburned without realising when you are outside all day. Make sure you pack some high-factor sun lotion and sun hats and, if possible, create a shady play area for the kiddies so they can escape the fierce midday rays.
  1. Extra blankets always come in handy on a camping trip. Aside from being great for snuggling up in around the campfire, they also double up as makeshift sun shades, pillows, picnic blankets or even play dens.
  1. Wet-weather gear is also worth its weight in gold if the heavens open. Drying sodden clothes can be a real chore in a tent so prevention is definitely better than cure here. Dress kids in lightweight waterproofs and they can enjoy the great outdoors regardless of the weather, whilst keeping clothes dry underneath.
  1. Even if the weather is glorious in the day, temperatures can plummet at night so take plenty of layers to wrap up in. It's also advisable to pack a hat and gloves just in case. Fingers crossed you won't need them but it's better to have them unused in your bag than not at all.
children walking on a trail in the woods

Entertainment

  1. Don't forget to pack some games suitable for playing outside the tent – balls, skipping ropes, bubbles, Nerf guns, boules etc. can provide hours of entertainment. Calmer activities such as board games, colouring books and playing cards also provide welcome entertainment in the evenings or if rain stops outdoor play.
  1. Windbreaks can be handy for cordoning off a play space for children whilst obviously providing protection from the wind.
  1. Another great way of containing tiny tots who may be prone to wandering is to multi-task their travel cot as a play pen.
  1. Research the area and see if there is anywhere local that could provide a family-friendly outing. While away the walk by creating a simple scavenger hunt, challenging the kids to tick off sightings of streams, flowers, wildlife and landmarks.
  1. Finally, don't forget to bring a couple of home comforts such as favourite toys or special blankets to help your little ones settle into the unfamiliar environment.

Bad weather ‘most stressful part of UK car holidays’

Over a third of Britons find the poor weather in this country the most stressful part of driving to UK holiday destinations, research shows.

A survey carried out by boot liner manufacturer Hatchbag asked members of the public ‘What is the most stressful thing about driving around the UK on holiday?’.

More than a third (34.4%) named ‘bad weather’ as the most stressful element of holiday trips around the UK.

Despite the unpredictable UK weather patterns, the popularity of ‘staycations’ has rocketed among Britons in recent years. Research carried out by travel marketing group Sojern shows that last summer saw a 23.8% rise in UK holiday bookings compared with the same period the previous year.

Claudia Finamore, the commercial manager at Hatchbag, said: “More and more Britons are choosing to holiday in the UK – regardless of the weather – making the most of the stunning scenery and coastline that the country has to offer and increasingly embracing the great outdoors. And why wouldn’t they, Britain has some of the most beautiful landscapes found anywhere in the world.”

Camping, glamping, and idyllic forest-style retreats have put a new spin on domestic tourism. Increasing numbers of Britons are turning to the less expensive — and environmentally friendly — UK-based option and away from the hassle and inflated costs associated with holidaying abroad.

The shift has led to a significant boost in the UK tourist industry, with market analysts Mintel predicting that the caravanning and camping market will be worth £3.2 billion by 2020.

Another issue associated with UK holiday road trips was ‘space management’, with one in five people admitting to finding packing and unpacking the car vexing.

This was particularly true among 25 to 44 year olds — the demographic most likely to be holidaying with children.

In fact, cramped conditions and mess created by mud and sand brought into a vehicle were cited by 17.9%  as a point of stress.

Claudia explains: “Unfortunately the car journeys to and from British holiday destinations can be stressful, particularly for young families who are likely to fill every bit of space in the car with holiday necessities.

“One way to help make car journeys more pleasant is to fit a wipe clean, protective bootliner into the car. Aside from reducing the amount of mess that is brought into the car, bootliners also help simplify packing and unpacking luggage and equipment. Bespoke configurations also allow flexibility with different seating configurations, ultimately increasing passenger comfort on the journey.”

According to Tourism Alliance statistics for 2017, almost 20 million UK sightseeing trips were taken by car.

Is your lifestyle reducing the future value of your car?

As the costs of motoring increase, fewer people are now in a position to buy a new or nearly new car outright. Instead, many motorists choose to opt for the tempting Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals offered by car manufacturers.

Unlike a hire-purchase agreement — where the customer owns the car once payments are complete — PCP allows motorists to pay lower monthly instalments over a shorter period of time. Then, at the end of the contract, they can simply hand the car back to the dealer and swap the expired deal for a fresh one on another new car, or purchase the car at its agreed Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (GMFV), which is specified in the initial contract.

As with all seemingly ‘win-win’ situations, there is a catch. Namely, how guaranteed this future value price actually is. Because it has been known for motorists to be financially penalised if their lifestyle subjects the vehicle to more wear and tear than the T&Cs allow.

To find out more about what motorists assume will affect the GMFV price on their car, boot-liner manufacturer Hatchbag ran a survey asking the UK public “What parts of a car do you think are likely to cost you money at the end of a lease?”  

Here’s what the survey revealed:

Graph showing parts of a car most likely to cost money at end of a lease

The results

As expected, motorists were most worried that damage to the bodywork would affect the GMFV when they returned the car to the dealer. Bumper scuffs, interior and window damage were also cited as being potential costs.

Surprisingly, the area that attracted the least amount of consideration was interior boot trim — the area of a vehicle that arguably receives the highest amount of daily wear and tear. With only 14.7% of respondents expressing concern, it highlights that the remaining 85.3% are at risk of facing financial penalties due to the state of their car boot.

Why is the boot such a key area for damage?

The primary purpose of the car boot is to transport larger bulky items, such as luggage, pushchairs or sports equipment. The very nature of these items means that they’re likely to rattle around in transit, potentially knocking or scraping against the interior of the boot and tailgate, not to mention the potential damage to the bumper that could be caused getting them into the boot in the first place.

The boot is also used to store items that might otherwise permanently stain the upholstery in the main seating area of the vehicle — such as muddy boots, wet coats and bags of food shopping— despite the fact that these items are equally likely to soil the interior of the boot. This also presents the additional risk of mould spores that become ground in to the boot lining if wet items aren’t removed immediately.

Boot damage can be a problem in any leased car; however, it is more of a risk in cars belonging to young families, pet owners and sport lovers.  Here’s why…

family sitting in boot of a car outdoors

Families

More often than not, the primary requirement for a family car is size. It’s not rocket science to discover that larger cars generally come with a larger price tag, making families the ideal candidates to opt for a budget friendly PCP option.

Unfortunately, young families are also the sector who are most likely to subject their car to an excessive amount of wear and tear — possibly jeopardising their chance of receiving the car’s full ‘future value’.

This is because the car is often used for the following purposes:

Family holidays – A time when the boot is invaluable for storing lots of luggage and possibly camping and outdoor equipment. Factor in sandy buckets and spades, deckchairs, wind breaks, muddy tents, dirty walking boots and the obligatory wet swimwear and towels, and you have a boot full of items that are likely to deposit dirt, sand and water. There is also the added risk that a boot packed with assorted holiday items could scrape the interior walls and tailgate.

Kiddy gear – Young children notoriously come with a lot of equipment, from every-day items such as prams and strollers to activity equipment like bikes, scooters, roller skates and football kits. All of this gear has one thing in common – dirt, be it mud, grease or oil.

Shopping - Although this isn’t a problem exclusive to families, multiple shopping bags accelerate the risk of delicate items becoming damaged in transit and subsequently spilling out of their packaging. A leaked bottle of olive oil, juice, tomato sauce or red wine can wreak havoc on the boot interior, which no amount of scrubbing can completely remove.

dog standing in boot of car looking at camera

Dog owners

Cars with larger boot spaces are also popular with dog owners, and are often used to transport dogs to and from muddy countryside walks. Inevitably, pet hair and mud will quickly become ingrained in the fabric lining of the boot, something that is difficult to prevent even with the use of dog cushions and blankets.

There is also the consideration that pets may become travel sick or have an ‘accident’ in transit. These stains — and their subsequent odours — can be particularly difficult to completely remove from a fabric boot lining. Some dogs also like to chew or scratch at the boot interior, causing irreparable damage.

Sport lovers

Larger cars aren’t exclusive to those who need to transport additional people or pets; sports lovers often opt for a car with lots of boot space to carry their equipment back and forth. It’s not unusual for boots of the neatest looking cars to be filled with golf clubs, fishing equipment, mountain biking and climbing gear, alongside football and general gym wear. Again, many of these items can create muddy or oily stains, plus scratch and scrape against the boot interior and possibly even rip the fabric lining.

Paws of dog and feet of child standing in muddy puddle

Damage limitation

As there is such a grey area around what counts as ‘normal’ wear and tear on a vehicle, it pays to take precaution and protect your car from any potential damage where possible. External scratches to bodywork are often unavoidable; thankfully it is much easier to prevent internal damage. 

It is relatively easy to valet the front and back seats and footwells as you go to prevent stains appearing; with boot space it is generally better to take a ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach.

One great way of ensuring that your boot is not subjected to damage is to fit a boot liner. Rather than throwing down a protective sheet — which is likely to bunch up or slip around, leaving areas of the boot lining unprotected — it is possible to purchase a wipe clean, padded boot liner designed specifically to fit the exact measurements of the make and model of your car. This secure fit means that every inch of the boot lining is protected from any potential damage.

By protecting the boot lining — and inside tailgate if necessary — there is no need to worry about how your lifestyle may be affecting the future value of your car. Instead, you can maximise those family outings, muddy walks and outdoor activities — the very reasons why you may have chosen that particular car in the first place.

The Best Ways to De-Ice (and Other Winter Car Care Tricks)

As the winter months draw in, the prospect of curling up by the fire with a hot chocolate, an outing for a crisp winter countryside walk, and a host of other winter activities may excite. Sadly, a host of less car-friendly weather conditions also approach, with one of the more arduous ones for car owners being that morning ritual of having to de-ice your frozen car before you can set off on your commute to work.

The team here at The Hatchbag Company are familiar with that ordeal ourselves, so we went in search of the best ways to de-ice our cars, which we thought we’d share with you, as well as one or two other winter car care tricks that you can employ in the upcoming months.

De-Bunking the Myths

Before we recommend the ideal ways to de-ice your car, let’s get rid of a couple of unhelpful, but commonly used, methods for de-icing our cars. Namely, using a hot kettle for melting and a credit card for scraping.

Hopefully you value your windscreen – and your credit card – too much to scrape the ice away with such a less than precise tool, given the scrapes it can cause, but we’d venture a guess that many of us have probably resorted to a boiling hot kettle to shift that windscreen ice when we’re in a rush to get on with our day. The problem is, the drastic and sudden temperature change can cause your windscreen to crack, and just because it hasn’t happened so far, doesn’t mean it won’t. We’d definitely favour being safe over sorry when it comes to your windscreen.

Preparation is Key

The method we’ve found to be the number one to share with you can be done in three different ways, but relies on the same key scientific fact; freezing temperatures.

Basically, rather than introducing intense hot temperature to melt ice on your windscreen, get a step ahead and cover your windscreen with a solution that freezes at a lower temperature than normal water. Soak a towel in the solution and leave the towel on your windscreen overnight. There are three ways to make the solution:

  1. Saltwater Solution: mix up a saltwater solution and soak your towel in it, with saltwater helping to melt the ice.
  2. Alcohol Solution: if you don’t have salt, you can use a (two parts to one part water) alcohol solution instead.
  3. White Vinegar: there’s also the option to use a (three parts to one part water) white vinegar solution.

If you forget to leave your towel out overnight, you can make up a saltwater solution that you can then wipe or spray onto your windscreen in the morning, but this will obviously take a little while to get to work, and you’ll need to be careful to keep it targeted to the windscreen, as the saltwater may not agree with your car’s paint job.

Other Tricks

How to Melt Your Frozen Car Lock: This is one of our favourite little tricks, and it involves using a daily household item to solve the problem of a frozen car lock. That item is hand sanitizer. The alcohol contained within the gel will help to melt the ice, so just put a couple of drops on your key, or around the lock, and watch the ice melt away.

How to Deal with a Foggy Windscreen: This advice comes in three parts. To prevent unnecessary moisture, never leave a bottle of liquid open in your car overnight. To wipe your windscreen without leaving marks, use a chalkboard eraser, while to suck moisture out of the interior of your car and prevent fogging, you can fill a stocking or a cloth bag with either rice or cat litter, both of which deal with moisture brilliantly.

 

We hope these tips will prove useful to you this winter. For more on protecting the interior of your car with one of our stylish and durable handmade custom boot liners, browse our range here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners

How to Clean Your Alloy Wheels

Here at The Hatchbag Company, we’re committed to helping you keep the interior of your car, namely your boot, as clean and stylish as possible. At the same time, while we don’t provide products focused on the exterior of your car, we do love to see a car looking just as good on the outside as it does on the inside.

One area that can give your car that feel of lasting quality is in keeping your alloys pristine, which can be difficult to do if you have an active lifestyle that takes your car across a variety of terrains. So, we thought we’d offer some advice on how to clean your alloy wheels easily and effectively, keeping them looking great for the long haul.

Step 1: A Good Rinse

Begin by giving your wheels a good rinse with a hose, as this will not only get rid of any easily clearable surface dirt, but it may well also soften any more resistant grime or markings on the wheel. It can help to use a focused nozzle on the end of your water supply to deliver a strong stream of water to a particular point of the wheel.

Step 2: Non-Acidic Alloy Cleaner

Once you’ve done the initial rinse, you’ll want to make use of an alloy wheel cleaner, preferably one that is non-acidic so that it doesn’t cause any damage to the wheel finish. You may not notice it first time, but prolonged use of an acidic cleaner will chip away at the finish over time. There are a number of quality and non-acidic alloy wheel cleaners on the market, such as those from SONAX, and Wolfgang, to mention just a couple.

Step 3: A Soft Bristle Brush

Once you’ve given the wheel a rinse with water, then a bit of a lather with a cleaning product, it’s time to gently agitate away any dirt that is still stuck to the wheel by using a brush. Make sure that you use a soft bristle brush so that you don’t cause any scratches to the wheel finish as you brush in and out of the gaps in the alloy wheel.

Step 4: Lug Nuts and Wheel Wells

Once you’ve done the main alloy itself, it’s important to get to the slightly harder to reach areas, namely the lug nuts and wheel wells. Dirt, grime and dust can hide anywhere, so you don’t want to clean your alloy wheel only to have dirt from the lug nuts and/or wheel wells transfer back onto the main alloy as soon as you start driving.

This is particularly true of the wheel wells, as a lot of dirt, mud and gravel can be kicked up into the wheel wells while driving and then fall down onto the wheel later on. You can use an all-purpose cleaner and a slightly rougher brush for the wheel wells than you would for the alloy finish itself; it’s all about clearing that dirt.

Step 5: A Final Rinse

Once you’ve given every area a going over with a cleaning product and/or cleaning brush, you should give the whole area a final once-over rinse to clean away any bits of dirt you may have missed or partially dislodged.

Step 6: Finish by Drying

Now that the cleaning is out of the way, you may want to finish by drying the alloys to avoid water spots and give them that extra glisten. Make sure to use a microfiber towel, and ensure that you use a different towel for your wheels to whatever you use on your main car paint job.

 

We hope this has given you a helpful rundown of how to clean your alloy wheels properly. As for the inside of your car, Hatchbag can take care of that with our high-quality range of handmade boot liners, with a custom fit and colour choices for a range of specific car models, protecting your car boot against pets, sports equipment and tools. For our full range of custom boot liners, click over to: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners

Best Winter Tyres 2017

For motorists, winter can be a very daunting time to be out on the roads. While it’s not often that we’re completely debilitated by heavy snow here in the UK, issues such as ice, slush and even heavy rain can make the roads more dangerous and almost un-navigable if you’re not properly equipped for them.

Here at The Hatchbag Company, we’re always on the lookout for the best vehicle features, including winter tyres designed to keep you safe and make driving a lot easier during the colder months.  They’re optimised to work best in cold conditions and keep you mobile even when the roads are slippery.

Even with a four-wheel-drive car or SUV, you’ll find cold-weather performance is dramatically boosted by investing in quality winter tyres. In the quest to find the best winter tyres available on the market this year, we took a look at some of the best-selling options. These tyres have all been tested to measure braking, handling performance and grip in snowy, icy and wet conditions. Here are some favourites.

Continental WinterContact TS 860

Engineered in Germany, the Continental WinterContact TS 860 tyres are also perfect for flexible driving in winter conditions here in the UK. They’re able to transfer the car braking forces safely, whether the roads are dry, wet, icy or snow-covered.

In terms of pricing, they sit right at the centre of the best-selling options on the market today. A number of features have been added to give the driver optimum control and safety. The Snow Curve+ technology allows for safe cornering and grip on snow-covered roads, while their new channel system drastically reduces your braking distance on frost-covered and icy roads.

Nokian WR D4

The Nokian WR D4 tyres are the successor to the widely-loved WR D3. The optimised tread pattern of these tyres is reinforced with special incisions which help improve water dispersal whilst clearing snow and slush well. Nokian tyres also have great traction, even when turning around sharp bends.

One downside is that the Nokian tyres are somewhat noisier to manoeuvre than some others in this selection. In terms of efficiency, they don’t measure up to some other options on the market, but considering sheer value for money, the Nokian tyre can’t be faulted on safety and reliability.

Dunlop Winter Sport 5

The Dunlop Winter Sport 5 tyres designed for speed. If you want to get about effortlessly, even in the snow, then they’ll allow you to do just that. With more edges, the tyres have better traction than most. This means that you can enjoy easy handling and good balance in extreme driving conditions.

Thanks to smart aquaplaning characteristics, the tyres are also able to push more water under the tyre quickly than many other options, which makes Dunlop Winter Sport 5 tyres great for dealing with heavy slush and rain. With low rolling resistance, the tyres are extremely fuel efficient which is another bonus.

Hankook i*cept RS2

Hankook are known for delivering great quality at affordable prices. The i*cept RS2 tyres provide a balanced performance in all winter conditions. The tyre structure is made from high grip silica compound which allows for improved snow and water traction as well as lowered rolling resistance.

Additional features include aqua-slush edge grooves and ice grip slits to improve the traction and cornering performance. Hankook have introduced grip claw technology which boosts snow traction by applying sharp edges. By minimising block movement on wet and snowy roads, the tyres produce enhanced driving stability. Overall fuel economy is the only thing that lets these tyres down.

Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen-1

These tyres are one of the pricier options on the list, but you can expect a solid performance even in tough winter conditions. The Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen-1 has an especially short braking distance on snow and it’s a lot quieter than other winter tyre variations.

The tyres are designed to provide easy handling and they also offer excellent aquaplaning performance because of the hydrodynamic grooves which help to channel the water away from the tyre surface. While this makes your car very easy to handle, it may at times feel delicately balanced on wet surfaces.

Thanks to recent advancements in technology, winter tyres are now capable of a lot more than they used to be. In fact, the right winter tyres can do a lot more to aid safe driving than four-wheel drive with regular tyres. Here at The Hatchbag Company, our custom boot liners and accessories are another ideal complement to an extensive range of specific car makes and models.

The high-quality materials that we use act as a second skin to protect your car from dirt, spillages and scratches, helping to protect the interior of your car boot with lasting quality. For more details on the best winter tyres, search the brand that appeals, while for more on our range you can browse all of our available boot liners here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners

Best Winter Cars 2017

There are few things more frustrating than buying a car in the warmer months, only to have it let you down once the winter weather sets in. With the days now drawing in, the evenings getting darker and temperatures winding down, the roads often require a little more care from drivers.

If you’re in search of a new car that’s able to tackle heavy rain, snow and ice-covered roads head-on, then take a look at our list of the best winter cars for 2017. Here at The Hatchbag Company, we can help protect the inside of your car, but you’ll want a vehicle that is able to grip roads and perform well when faced with rough winter conditions and offer the best to your daily drive even when roads turn tricky.

Dacia Duster SUV

The Dacia Duster offers fantastic value for money. In fact, it’s one of the most affordable SUV’s available on the market at present. It’s not only comfortable and spacious, but also easy to drive. When ordered with the four-wheel drive option, the Duster is extremely capable off-road, while its strong grip makes it easy to drive safely over icy and leaf-covered roads.

The Dacia Duster also includes anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control with traction control and power-assisted steering, which all goes towards making your winter commutes a lot less daunting!

For our range of bespoke Dacia boot liners, visit: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/dacia

Range Rover Sport

If you’re looking for something a little more up-market, then the Range Rover Sport is the perfect option for winter. It’s cheaper than the full-sized Range Rover and yet offers the same level of luxury and off-road capability as its more expensive counterpart.

This SUV has a stunning interior and drives exceptionally well on-road, even when winter is in full force.  Range Rover Sport vehicles include an intelligent “terrain response” system which controls the car’s ABS, traction control and electronic stability control. The SVR trim comes with a heated steering wheel and passenger seats to keep you and your passengers nice and toasty.

To see all of our custom Range Rover boot liners, click here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/range-rover

BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series is one of the most celebrated cars available in the UK right now, offering a strong all-round performance in terms of style, driving experience and interior finish. You can choose from an extensive range of engines and trims whilst enjoying BMW’s strong badge appeal.

The addition of four-wheel drive gives the current BMW 3 Series all of the extra grip that you’d ever need. The only downside is that this option is significantly more expensive than some of the other, as well as reducing your fuel economy in comparison to rear-wheel drive versions of the car.

Our custom BMW boot liner options are available at: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/bmw

Volvo XC90

If safety is your main concern during the winter months, then the Volvo XC90 is probably the most competent in this area. The Volvo model boasts a five-star safety rating, and it also includes a number of additional high-tech features to keep passengers and pedestrians out of harm’s way.

You can put the car into “winter mode”, which will help a lot when you’re starting it up on slippery roads, as it allows you to put your vehicle automatically into third gear. There’s also a “safe positioning” system which is able to detect imminent collisions and respond by tightening the front seatbelts to reduce a passenger’s acceleration in the event of an accident.

You can find our range of custom Volvo boot liners at: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/volvo

Skoda Octavia Scout

Today, the Skoda is more popular than ever, and there’s a reason that the Octavia has become known as the “family car”. Skoda’s Octavia Scout model is practical, reliable and very economical for a four-wheel drive. The car has slightly raised suspension, which gives extra traction and grip; something that you’ll find to be very reassuring when making your way down an icy road!

It also includes additional ground clearance which is great for dealing with rougher rounds, and the Skoda Octavia Scout comes with a number of safety features as standard. These include lane assist, light assist for optimal illumination of the roads, hill-hold control, ABS and up to nine airbags.

Our full range of bespoke Skoda boot liners are over at: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/skoda


We hope that you’ve found this list to be useful. Safe and capable cars for winter can now be found whatever your budget and design preferences may be. Now that you know what to look out for, you can be ready for the cold season and make sure you’re fully protected against any pitfalls of winter driving.

Here at The Hatchbag Company, we produce tailor-made boot liners for over 400 different car models, including the brands on this list. Each one is designed to fit perfectly whilst providing the car with a protective layer against dirt and scratches. We also provide a number of accessories to give car owners complete flexibility and cater to specific lifestyle requirements such as pets, tools or sports equipment.

2017 Frankfurt Motor Show Review

The year’s biggest motor show is always a key date in our diary, with this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show taking place from 16-24th September, with advance openings for the press from September 12th. There may have been some big name absences (strange not to see Alfa, Citroen, Fiat, Peugeot and Volvo in attendance) but there were still more than enough exciting announcements and reveals to keep us interested.

Here at The Hatchbag Company, we’re always keen to keep an eye on major motor industry events, both out of our personal interest in cars, as well as to identify new vehicles we can offer our custom boot liners for. In this blog, we’ve chosen to highlight a few key trends that we saw come out of 2017’s Frankfurt showing.

Interesting Concepts

This year’s event certainly didn’t disappoint, with a range of stunning concept cars on show. We could spend all day talking about the eye-catching and futuristic features on show, with options such as Volkswagen’s new Polo, the latest Impreza from Subaru, a look at the new Bentley Continental GT and Renault’s Megane Renaultsport, but here are our three favourites from this year’s offering.

BMW M5

Blue BMW M5

It’s always exciting to see what BMW bring to the table, and this year was certainly one to savour. Their new M5 not only looks the part, it also features a range of innovative tech and is reported to handle wonderfully. It’s sure to be one of the leading executive saloon options on the market, with all of the familiar benefits of previous 5 Series cars, but with even more in terms of comfort and performance.

For a look at our custom BMW boot liner options, you can click here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/bmw

Honda Urban EV

White Honda Urban EV

The new offering from Honda may look like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but it has the potential to become the first electric car to really win over the mass market. Honda are saying that when this concept model arrives to the European market in 2019, it should look pretty much the same as it did at the Frankfurt showcase. Personally, we’d be more than happy if that were the case, as it looks great.

For a look at our custom Honda boot liners, you can click here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/honda

Audi Aicon

White Audi Aicon

Audi unveiled its gorgeous new Aicon concept car, part of their new “AI” branch which is focusing on the kind of autonomous and self-teaching cars that are set to usher in the new generation of vehicles. This really was a glimpse of the future, with a stunningly sleek style and a range of innovative features under the surface.

For our custom Audi boot liners, head here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/audi

Focus on the Future

While the Frankfurt Motor Show is always somewhat future-focused due to the number of new and concept cars on display for us to fantasise about owning, this year was even more geared towards what is to come for the vehicle industry. Namely in the form of electric cars. There’s been a lot of talk about the increasing popularity of electric cars in an environmentally-conscious and functionality-obsessed age, but this year’s motor show brought statements of intent from a number of major players.

There were two major statements that caught our attention on this topic:

  • - The repeated suggestions that every major car brand was likely to have at least one electric version of their main models by the mid-2020s, offering a huge range of electric car options.
  • - The statement made by Dieter Zetsche, boss of Daimler, who have involvements in brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Smart Car. During his address at the conference, Zetsche said that Daimler’s intention was to have between 15 and 25% of their vehicle line-up as fully electric in the near future.

It remains to be seen how the general motoring public will respond to the electric car revolution, but it looks increasingly like it’s going to be a case of when, rather than if, many of us will switch to electric.

Anyway, that’s enough future talk for now; we won’t even mention the self-driving car talk that went on!

German Innovation

It stands to reason that there would be a strong German manufacturer’s presence with such a prestigious motoring show on home soil, and this year was no different. There was a strong showing from Audi, with the aforementioned Aicon concept car catching our eye most, especially with the rumours that it could come with “no pedals, no steering wheel and a 500-mile electric range” and all that could mean.

BMW had a number of ideas on show, including its X7 concept car, but not everyone was impressed with some of their design choices this time around. Volkswagen shared their own concept, an electric version of their famous Golf model, while Mercedes also showcased electric concept cars, which they said would be able to offer a sub-5 second 0-60mph capability with ease.

In Closing

We’ve hardly had time to scratch the surface of the full scope of what went on in Frankfurt – we could also wax lyrical about the new Land Rover Discovery SVX, Ford’s new and revised Mustang and Jaguar’s I-Pace racing vehicle – but we hope this has given you a little insight into the excitement on show.

As we looked on admiringly at so many of the excellent new options on offer for car lovers, we felt a renewed commitment to ensure The Hatchbag Company keep offering the very best options to protect the boots of these high-end vehicles with a custom boot liner that matches each vehicle in terms of quality and style.

We offer our high-quality boot liners, handmade in Britain for a custom fit, with current offerings for many of the major brands mentioned in this Frankfurt Motor Show review. As soon as these new and exciting vehicles hit the roads, we’re sure to be offering custom boot liners for them too, but for now you can take a look across our range of hundreds of custom boot liners and find the exact fit for your current vehicle. Our full list of available brands is found here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners

The Best Cars for Dog Owners

For many dog owners, finding a car that is compatible with transporting their beloved pet is a top priority. Whether it’s taking your dog out to their favourite walking spots, away on holiday with you, or on day trips to see family, you’ll want a vehicle that both you and your dog can enjoy riding in.

Any car’s suitability for travelling with a dog, or dogs, can be enhanced by features such as quality boot protectors and mats that offer both comfort and protection. That said, it is still worth looking at the cars which come ready-made with the most dog-friendly format.

When look for the ideal vehicle for this aim, we consider features such as interior space, seating layout and ease of access for dogs who aren’t as mobile as they once were. We’ll also provide helpful links to the range of available items we offer, designed specifically for these leading dog-friendly car models. After that, it’ll be down to you to choose the car that suits you and your dog the best.

Skoda Superb Estate

Skoda offers a fine range of vehicle options, but we chose the Superb model here, because it lives up to its name when it comes to providing a great fit for dogs. There is a real focus on comfort, with the Estate option particularly spacious and the car able to cruise along in real ease even on long trips.

This model also has one of the largest boots of a car of its type, at around 660 litres capacity, so much so that you’ll probably be jealous of the amount of space your dog gets to enjoy! It also offers the benefit of a low loading sill in its boot that is easy for most dogs to jump into. An ideal fit.

Our range of Skoda Superb items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/skoda/superb

Nissan X-Trail

Offering a sleek and stylish look in a range of colours, the X-Trail is becoming an iconic model for those with an active lifestyle and taste for adventure, albeit with the comfort of such an elite vehicle. In terms of what it specifically offers to dogs and their owners, it is a comfortable and spacious option, with space consideration for a storage rack for leads.

This is a great looking car that gets better with every new model, whilst still being priced around £10,000 less than comparable options from Audi, BMW and Range Rover. The boot loading lip is a little higher than some, but overall it’s ideal for any dog owner looking to achieve luxury at a fair price point.

Our range of Nissan X-Trail items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/nissan/x-trail

Peugeot 308 SW

This is another vehicle with a fantastically spacious boot capacity, in fact matching the Skoda Superb at 660 litres, but doing so with a shorter and taller boot shape. This makes it an ideal fit for dogs who may prefer standing tall in a boot rather than lying flat. You’ll know your dog’s preferences and comforts better than us, but it’s worth noting the point that shape can often be as important as space.

A classic family car that, while offering a little less space than our other listed options for its rear seats, offers a low boot floor and loading lip that makes it comfortable for the majority of dogs to get in and out of. It is also a highly economical car for those looking for additional value when travelling.

Our range of Peugeot 308 items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/peugeot/308

Seat Leon Estate

A sleek car model that is as stylish as they come in terms of estate models, you can see the influence of Volkswagen construction methods alongside the unique Seat style. This car features a 580 litre boot, but comes with the benefit of an adjustable boot floor to help you find the ideal level for your dogs.

Providing a lovely balance of performance, style and economical use, this vehicle is sure to have your dog travelling in style while also giving you a range of benefits as a driver.

Our range of Seat Leon items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/seat/leon

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

The latest range of Picasso models are the crowning achievement of the Citroen Grand range, offering a real style and innovation to their design. Equipped for a large family with its third row of seats, the makers also keep in mind that many families have a dog as a vital member, with the third row of seating able to be removed to offer a 540 litre boot capacity ideal for a dog to enjoy.

With its low lying boot floor and lip, it offers a comfortable space for any dog to climb in and out of, as well as a range of economical running features meaning you’ll also feel at ease whenever you use it.

Our range of Citroen Grand items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/citroen/grand-c4

We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at some of our favourite vehicle options for dog owners. We’re continually casting our eye over the leading cars on the market so that we can ensure we offer custom boot liners and accessories for them all. We’ll report back if any new options make our list, but for now, these are the best options in our eyes and well worth considering as your next car selection.